I’m not exactly sure when my love affair with road trips began, but I’m fairly sure it was embedded in me from very young age. During the first few years of my life, my family spent a lot of time in our car, travelling between Port Elizabeth, where we lived, and Durban, where my grandparents were.
I have vague memories of the long drive through the villages of then Transkei (there were still borders in those days) with my family. We’d stop on the side of our road to eat our padkos* – there were no Ultra City stores, so hot dogs, samoosas and sandwhiches were brought from home. No Nintendo either, just hours of singalong to Bob Marley and the Beatles and endless games of ‘I spy‘.
We sometimes stopped off along the Wild coast, my father would go fishing, while my brothers and I would play on the beach, pick shells and get up to mischief. I remember spotting Xhosa boys with painted faces peeping through bush, as fascinated by us as we were by them. My mom told me to that they were undergoing initiation. It sounded scary to me, but I was fascinated, tired of my little brothers, I wanted to play with the big kids.
I think my love affair with road-tripping, and the Eastern Cape started then. It took me a some time to rekindle this love. After uni, I took a road trip with my brothers and some exchange student friends down the Eastern Cape. We stayed at backpackers en route – Coffee Bay, Chintsa and Jeffreys Bay were our ports of call – the car was filled with surfboards, a giant tent, pasta and beer. I found a new sense of freedom in that trip, my wanderlust and love for African travel revived. I knew I had to travel, to explore South Africa and this continent some more. I haven’t stopped since.
Road trips make the journey the adventure. The simple act of moving through changing landscapes, seeing the sights and not having to rush becomes your trip. The time spent with good friends, the quick stop to buy fresh fruit from the local padstal*, enjoy the wildflowers and the anticipation of a good coffee… memories created.
I recently came across this lovely video, of a road trip down the East Coast of South Africa. Its beautifully shot, tempting me to get on road again and explore beautiful Mzansi again and again…
The video was made by vlogger Ben Brown. Ben says:
I flew to Cape Town to drive east in a large Land Rover full of amazing humans. I had the time of my life, I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful South Africa is. We surfed A LOT and drove on some challenging road and met heaps of beautiful people. Thank you 🙂
Ben’s scenic shots of the Wild Coast are breathtaking, reminding me of the many awesome road trips I have taken up and down the coast, and the good times had with my friends. For more awesome vlogs by Ben, check out his Youtube channel.
What is your favourite South African road trip? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
*padkos – Afrikaans word meaning ‘road food’. I think the Afrikaans word sounds better.
*padstal – Afrikaans word meaning ‘road stall’. Again, the English version is just bland.